Spying on Planes for Fun and Profit

mr.smashy
CodeX
Published in
6 min readFeb 17, 2024

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A Cheap SDR Dongle and a Raspberry Pi Feeding ADS-B Data

Flight tracking on FlightRadar24.com

What are we doing here?

I recently bought a cheap SDR (Software-Defined Radio) dongle off Amazon (also available on nooelec.com) after delving into flight tracking discussions online. As a professional in Cybersecurity within the aviation industry, I hold a keen interest in aircraft systems, particularly in understanding the interplay between open-source and proprietary technologies. At work, I frequently engage with ACARS data, which spurred my curiosity to explore further online resources such as radarplane.com and adsbexchange.com. Although I found the content of flightradar24.com appealing, I encountered usability issues with its session timeouts. Determined to optimize my setup, I migrated my reverse proxy to an affordable “mini PC” equipped with a Celeron processor and eMMC storage. Running vanilla Debian, Nginx, and Crowdsec, this configuration proved highly efficient. With spare resources at hand, I repurposed a Raspberry Pi by flashing it and installing Docker, then deploying Audiobookshelf, which performed admirably and even interfaced smoothly with my personal Android phone. Notably, this setup consumed significantly fewer resources than the Raspberry Pi had previously utilized, leaving ample room for additional functionalities. Motivated by this success, I integrated my new…

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mr.smashy
CodeX
Writer for

Cybersecurity architect. Security dev and researcher. Infosec nerd. Linux enthusiast. All opinions and views are my own. Polite, professional, prepared.